Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Intentions to Connect

We all remember hearing the initial coos or the first repetitive sounds of babbling that come from our babies’ mouths. Do you think they were trying to tell you something? Anyone’s answer to this question is yes, and the same thing translates over to children acquiring written language just as they did with oral language.
When children draw pictures or write in scribbles, they have intent to connect and communicate, just as they did with their pre-language sounds. There are five levels that you may find your child in or between as he develops his ability to write meaningfully. These steps are the following;

1. Your child is in the scribbling/drawing stage when he makes uncontrolled drawings that are not recognizable.
2. The pictorial stage is when your child’s drawings become slightly recognizable and she imitates other writing from anywhere that she sees it.
3. At the precommunicative stage, children can often write their own name and a few other known words.
4. Next is the semiphonetic stage in which children can from most letters correctly, understands that writing goes from left to right and top to bottom, and can spell some harder words that they see frequently.
5. The phonetic stage is when your child begins to identify punctuation (including spaces between words) and represents most consonant and some vowel sounds with his spelling interpretations.
6. The final phase in written language attainment is transitional. This is when children mostly use correct capitalization, spacing, and logical phonetic spelling.

A child may spend more time than the next at one level, or may skip a level entirely, but learning to write and spell correctly is a process. We must always keep in mind that when children are working away on their scribbles or writing down incomprehensible words, that they are still intending to communicate. Developing authentic or meaningful ways for children to communicate through writing will help them glide through these steps and become proficient writers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Learning from the Environment

Hello parents!

One of the ways that we can be the best parents and teachers is to look at what our children really already know. You may be surprised with what you find. An example of this can be found when taking a look at something called environmental print. Environmental print is any sort of symbol, logo, sign, or written words that are find in your child's environment. Anything from street signs to shirt tags are enhancing your child literacy capabilities and recognition every day.

In our classroom, we are going to be building on this seemingly hidden capability by using your child's symbol recognition to connect these symbols with letters. This is importnant for our classroom because one of the first steps in developing literacy is understanding that something on a piece of paper, or sign, cereal box, etc. has a meaning in verbal language. This will then translate that letters and symbols that make sounds.

To furthur encourage this in your home, you can pull out a type of food box that you often prepare for your child and ask them what it is. I bet you they will know! Even if it is just because they recognize the symbol, but not the words. Sharing with me and with each other what your children know and recognize will open doors to furthur encouraging the recognition capabilities making them feel independent and motivated to practice more symbol recognition, and then recognition of letters and words!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's Get to Know Each Other

After this first week of interactions with your children and learning what I can from my interactions with them only, I am happy to say how thrilled I am with the diversity and curiosity for learning that each brings. I want you and I to be a team that is constantly collaborating and communicating to help each other help your child reach his or her full potential.

This being said, the more that we share with each other, the more beneficial the moments that your child spends with me will be. Encourage your child to fill me in on what they did at home the previous evening or weekend, and I have high hopes that you will be eager to talk about your child's day at school with them. I want to know what interests your child has and what makes him/her go "wow!" This way, we can together create methods of education that will be most effective and enjoyable in your child's academic journey.

Bringing eveyone's interests and characteristics into the classroom will spark curiosities among the other students and create bonds within them while they share and have conversation about what they like and dislike, know and don't yet know, and have or have not experienced. I can't wait to have more conversations with you about your fascinating children, and am looking forward to exciting and engaging lesson plans that will be developed based on the interests your child gifts the class with.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Importance of Social Play in Literacy Development

As we begin the school year, I would like to emphasize the role of play in our preschool classroom. Play is a facilitator of every type of learning at this young age as it stimulates the mind and the body. In this particular instance, I would like to share how play will have a huge part in your children's literacy development.

  • Play encourages social interaction. In being social, children are able to feed off of each other and share knowledge of written language. By acting out a particular event in which spoken words are used to communicate written words, (ie. playing restaurant and having the server writing down an order for food) children are able to furthur understand that those written markings on paper actually have meaning.

  • Play allows a child to "behave beyond his average age, above his daily behavior; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself." This quote was made by behavior theorist L. S. Vygotsky. Through my experience, I have found this to be very true as, through play, children take on roles that at their age would not be realisitc. But in acting out these characters, they use language that is also beyond their daily behavior. Through play, their literacy and language horizons are broadened.

I hope that this snippet of information has given you an eager outlook on how we will work together to enhance your children's literacy development and passion for reading!